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MARRIOTT IN-FLITE SERVS. v. LOCAL 504

November 22, 1978

MARRIOTT IN-FLITE SERVICES, A Division of Marriot Corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
LOCAL 504, AIR TRANSPORT DIVISION, TRANSPORT WORKERS OF AMERICA, AFL-CIO, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SIFTON

FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Marriott In-Flite Services, A Division of Marriott Corporation ("Marriott") instituted this action pursuant to § 303 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 151, 187 ("LMRA").

 Plaintiff's complaint alleges that the defendant union violated Sections 8(b) (4)(i), (ii)(B) and 187(a) of the Act by unlawfully threatening and coercing plaintiff Marriott and other persons with the intent of forcing Marriott to cease doing business with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines ("KLM"), an employer which was at the time engaged in a labor dispute with defendant union.

 The defendant union, Local 504, in its answer denied the material allegations of the complaint. It admitted that some of its members picketed the KLM facility, but denied any wrongdoing on the part of its members. Subsequently, after the filing of its original answer the defendant, with leave of the Court, filed an affirmative defense based on the so-called "ally doctrine". Prior to trial the defendant moved for summary judgment based on this theory. This motion was denied because the Court found that whether Marriott was an "ally" of KLM in this dispute involved disputed questions of fact.

 The case was tried before the Court without a jury. The Court, having considered the pleadings, the testimony of the witnesses, the documents in evidence, the stipulations of the parties and being otherwise fully advised, hereby makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law as required by Rule 52 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Plaintiff Marriott is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware. It is duly authorized to conduct, and at least since June 1, 1973, has done business in the State of New York. Plaintiff operates a food catering service that provides in-flight meals for commercial airlines operating from the John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia Airport Terminals located within the jurisdiction of this Court.

 2. KLM is, and has been since November 1, 1970, a foreign corporation doing business in the State of New York. In particular, it engaged in the air transportation of passengers and cargo to and from John F. Kennedy International Airport ("JFK").

 3. Defendant, Local 504, is a Local of the Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO ("TWU"). There was a labor agreement in effect for the period of November 1, 1970 to October 31, 1972 between KLM and TWU on behalf of Local 504. This agreement covered a number of KLM's employees at JFK including those employees who worked at KLM's in-flight catering commissary at 145th Drive and 167th Avenue.

 4. Negotiations for a new agreement took place in the Fall of 1972. A key issue, which could not be resolved during these negotiations, was KLM's stated intention permanently to terminate the operations of its commissary at the close of business on October 31, 1972. However, similar statements had been made by KLM numerous times in the past in connection with prior labor negotiations and the statement was regarded by the union as subject to change depending on the outcome of the negotiations.

 5. Unable to resolve the differences between them, the parties submitted their dispute to the National Mediation Board, pursuant to applicable law. *fn1" While attempts at mediation were continuing, KLM did not close its commissary and the union refrained from striking. *fn2" This Status quo was maintained through the end of June, 1973.

 6. On May 31, 1973, the National Mediation Board advised KLM and the union of its inability to resolve the dispute over the proposed closing of the commissary and that the parties would be free to pursue self-help remedies at the end of June. Shortly thereafter, Marriott contracted with KLM to provide food services for KLM's flights from JFK. KLM transferred its leasehold interest in the commissary facility to Marriott by assignment effective July 15, 1973. The commissary was not actually used by Marriott to service KLM flights until after the strike at issue herein was settled.

 7. Pursuant to authority which was given to its Negotiating Committee at an Executive Board meeting in May, 1973 and with the authorization of TWU, the defendant Local struck KLM on July 1, 1973. From July 1, 1973 to September 6, 1973 the commissary and other KLM buildings were picketed by members of Local 504. The picketing at the commissary, which was conducted sporadically, was organized by a picketing committee whose members included the witnesses Cavallo and Nantel and Shop Steward Hernandez. The strike ended on September 6, 1973.

 8. At the time of the strike an unresolved dispute existed between KLM and Local 504 with respect to continued operation by KLM of the commissary ...


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